911 operators exercising during calls

To combat a sedentary lifestyle, Gwinnett County 911 operators now have the option of taking calls on two treadmills put in the call center. (Special Photo)

If the calls weren’t enough, Gwinnett County 911 operators now have a new way to get their blood pumping.

The county communications manager recently bought two treadmills so call-takers can take a stroll while taking reports of emergencies. The idea, according to Cpl. Deon Washington, is to combat adverse effects of the “sedentary lifestyle” naturally encouraged by the gig, which calls for 12 hours of sitting at a desk.

“These treadmills can be used with the current desk that raises and lowers to allow the communications officers to sit or stand,” Washington said in a news release Wednesday. “The goal is to improve employee health by reducing stress, promoting a healthy body weight, and lowering blood pressure. Research has shown that employees who exercise at work often exhibit better time management, mental performance and mental ability.”

So far, 75 of the center’s 114 communications officers have signed up. Forty-five of them agreed to participate in a program documenting the results over the next six months.

A fitness coach will help oversee the program, which is set to include monitoring of the employees’ daily step count, treadmill usage and biometric screenings for weight, body mass, cholesterol and blood sugar.

“We highly anticipate the program showing that exercising improves the lifestyle and productivity of our communications officers,” Washington said. “Our hope is that other 911 centers across Georgia will see the benefit of this exciting program. We are committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Gwinnett County and for our employees.”

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